Picture: Richard Mills – RING conductor and Musical Director
Hot on the heels of Lyndon Terracini presenting his vision for the staging of Wagner’s epic DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN and the associated Ring Festival in Melbourne in November/December 2013 to the Wagner Society in NSW last Sunday, Opera Australia presented a discussion of their plans this evening in the Joan Sutherland Studio of the Opera Centre in Strawberry Hills, to a packed audience of Patrons, Subscribers and persons of interest (i.e. cashed up) this evening.
The format was a ‘Q and A’ chaired by Opera Australia Director of Development, Nicholas Selman, a tall, suave young man with a splendid voice reminiscent of ABC Classic FM radio announcer Charles Southward. After an introduction explaining the development of this enormous project, details of the financing of the RING, and further details of the enormous rehearsal schedule for singers, the RING orchestra and stage rehearsals – which was truly boggling, he directed questions to Opera Australia Artistic Director and the RING conductor and musical director, Richard Mills. Richard Mills is currently in Sydney conducting his opera, THE LOVE OF THE NIGHTINGALE, which had its full dress rehearsal earlier today (several members of the audience from the dress rehearsal were present at the presentation and reported both the opera and performance were excellent).
Many of the details announced have been previously reported on the Opera Insider 4 days ago.
However, several addition members of the RING cast were announced, including Miriam Gordon Stewart as Sieglinde, Richard Berkeley-Steele as Loge, and Deborah Humble as Erda and Waltraute. Further castings are said to be awaiting signed contracts, but I suspect Opera Australia is content to drip feed details of the cast slowly to increase interest and excitement leading up to the launch of ticket sales in early 2012.
Richard Mills spent some time explaining the enormity of the musical preparation, details of the rehearsal schedule, and preparation of the orchestra. Opera Australia will be using a new performance score of the work and will be preparing their own orchestral parts. Richard seemed only too acutely aware of the huge task before him, and has shelved all conducting and composition commitments until the RING is over with the exception of ELEKTRA with the Western Australian Opera early next year. He is both humbled to be part of this collaborative project and pleased to be part of the first RING in Australia to be presented by an all Australian team of director, designer and conductor. Richard Mills obviously has the complete confidence of Lyndon Terracini for the task.
The designer, Robert Cousins and director, Neil Armfield will be presenting preliminary concepts and designs to Opera Australia hopefully in mid-November.
Final dates for the performances are yet to be set.
Lyndon Terracini is very hopeful that the series of performances will be video reorder for later cinema screening and DVD release, but to prevent recording of the performances interfering with the enjoyment by the audience, he is considering recording earlier stage and dress rehearsals if possible.
Ticket costs have been finalised and are very reasonable considering the size and cost of the productions. Ticket prices for a complete RING Cycle are as follows:
Premium Reserve $2,000 per person per cycle
A Reserve $1,600 per person per cycle
B Reserve $1,200 per person per cycle
C Reserve $1,000 per person per cycle
D Reserve $600 per person per cycle
To assist meet the financial target for staging the RING, a sponsorship program was launched at the event.
Sponsors will be titled RING LEADERS. Sponsorships range from a Bronze Leader for a donation of $1,500, Sliver Leader for $3,000, Gold Leader for $6,000, Diamond Leader for $12,000 and a Platinum Leader for donations in excess of $25,000.
In return for being sponsor, OPERA LEADERS will receive a range of benefits (depending on their level of support) including an invitation to a Gala Dinner, Insight Events, invitation to the Rimg Lounge, invitations to cast events, a technical talk with the designer and technical director, a back-stage tour, a meet the creative team event, attend stage rehearsals, and ‘unique encounters’ with Lyndon Terracini and Adrian Collette – the mind boggles !
Ticket sales will open in three waves. RING LEADERS will be offered tickets first, later Patrons and subscribers and later still tickets will be released for general sale to the Public.
A substantial number of tickets will be quarantined for sale to overseas guests and opera tourists, but similarly a substantial number of tickets will also be quarantined for sale to Australian opera goers.
As each exciting new announcement was made another wine glass fell shattering on the floor from the hands of an excited audience member. Mine didn’t, I was not going to waste good champagne at a champagne event in the history of Opera Australia.
The RING journey continues and is sure to be THE topic of conversation amongst all musical lovers and opera goers in Australia for the next 2 years.